Tag Archives: science fiction

The Dispatcher, by John Scalzi

14 Jan
the-dispatcher-john-scalzi

2-Stars

I would have loved this if there were any sort of explanation for the entire premise of the book. I will even go along with an explanation that uses big scientific words I don’t understand. Or simply claim “Magic!”

But there was no explanation for what was happening, unless I missed it (it is on Audible, so it’s *possible* I missed something), and so there’s no way I can give this more than 2 stars.

Narrated quite well by Zachary Quinto.

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Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch

25 Jul
dark matter blake crouch

FIVE out of Five Stars!

OHHHHHHH my GOSHHHHHH I loved this book. I finished it in 24 hours because it was just too hard to put down.

Now what do I say here though? First, DON’T READ THE SYNOPSIS. Don’t read anything about the plot! If you did already, get the book and read it anyway!

I don’t even want to state what subgenre of sci-fi this belongs to. I don’t want to tell you anything at all. I was 100% blind going in, and I think it greatly helped my enjoyment.

I will say that this particular subgenre is very difficult to get right, and it can almost never be done without some holes or contradictions. I won’t say that this book doesn’t have them, although I actually never saw any, and a few things were “explained” by using a lot of big science words that most people don’t understand. By the time the reader starts figuring out what is going on and the explanations are needed, I was okay with whatever big, incomprehensible explanation they were going to give me. I was open to believing it.

So why should you read this book if I won’t tell you anything about it, and you shouldn’t read the synopsis?

It’s exciting. It’s a RIDE. There are surprises. It reads like a movie, and I’d bet money that one will get made. An extra twist came at the end that I hadn’t expected but it made scientific sense and I loved it. It’s creepy. It’s sad. It’s about losing love and trying to get it back again. It’s a really, really good, fun book.

So many thanks to NetGalley for allowing me a copy in exchange for a review. I recommend this book to all sci-fi lovers, thriller lovers, and book lovers.

Paper Girls Volume 1, by Brian K. Vaughan

6 Apr
paper girls vol 1 by brian vaughan

FIVE of Five stars

I wasn’t loving this book at first, it seemed to skew a bit young for me and didn’t seem anywhere near as good as Vaughan’s other series Saga. But it picked up quickly, VERY quickly, and then I was strapped in for the ride. It’s H.G. Wells meets Peter Clines meets R.L. Stine meets Ann M. Martin. What a dinner party that would be, eh? I love that we’re treated to Paper GIRLS, when this could have easily been about paper boys. I love that at age 12 the girls are somewhat independent and beyond childhood, yet too young to throw in any unneeded love stories. I love the 1980s references. I love that we have several groups of unknowns who may be good or bad or a bit of both. I love that there are going to be messages and lessons throughout the series.

I love-love-love the broken English the groups were speaking, it was genius.

I would recommend this to anyone 12 and up (if you’re a parent, there are mature themes but nothing your 12 year old hasn’t heard before, I promise), any lover of Saga, sci-fi, time travel, and/or H.P. Lovecraft. As a 49 year old woman I loved this and cannot wait for the next volume.

Thank you to NetGalley for the advance copy in exchange for a review.

The Last One, by Alexandra Oliva

25 Feb
the last one alexandra olivas

Five of Five Stars

I really enjoyed this book and found it to be a very intense read especially toward the end. I actually just sat and read through the last two thirds of it non-stop, I couldn’t put it down.

It’s a pretty simple plot: several people are contestants on a reality “Survivor” type show, meanwhile there’s an actual world pandemic that the contestants are unaware of. At what point will they realize they are no longer contestants but real world survivors?

But the reader is also unsure as to when the show ends and reality begins. We are taken back and forth from the starting of the show, to some point in time a month later as we follow the last lone contestant wondering when her latest “challenge” will be over. There’s an element of the “Unreal” TV show as we see all the behind the scenes of shooting a reality show, and we also see the social media comments.

This is Alexandra Oliva’s first book, and she comes across as a very smart woman. She includes so much detail about the contestants’ survival that it almost crosses over super-interesting into tedious territory – but not quite. There are a lot of contestants in the show, and she really separates the real people from the edited-for-show people, highlighting the “reality” of “reality TV”. It can be confusing to remember who everyone is at first, but this confusion is acknowledged in the book as the normality of starting any new reality show when there are too many contestants to get to know. In the end you meet the important ones, the ones who will last.

The end of the book sort of switches gears and changes from a search for home to an *unspoiled* search for something else. Usually an extended ending will irritate me, but I was 100% along for the ride with this one.

The book may not hold interest for anyone who is bored by reality shows or any type of survivalist plot (oh, and there are lots of scenes of skinning animals, be aware), but overall I found it to be an interesting take on the end-of-the-world genre, and the reality show portion is dealt with seriously, not as a comedy. There are other themes as well: gender roles, motherhood, and psychological breakdowns.

It’s not a heavy read but neither is this light and fluffy by any means. It’s not quite in the literature category, but it’s not meaningless entertainment either. This is a good, solid book; it scared me often and had me reading as fast as I could to see what would happen next.

Thank you so much to NetGalley for the early read, I can’t wait for the rest of the world to get their hands on it.

Bird Box, by Josh Malerman

3 Nov
FIVE of FIVE stars

FIVE of FIVE stars

JEEEZUS.

Now I don’t know if I want to sleep with the light on or if I want to close all the curtains and turn lights off, stat. I read this through in a day, and am probably one of the few who knew nothing about the book at all before going in to it. At this point it’s likely one of the scariest things I’ve ever read (with the exception of sneak reading The Exorcist under the covers when I was 10). I can’t imagine any situation scarier than what happens in this book. Every horrific scene the characters had to get through just chilled me to the bone thinking how terrifying it would be.

That’s all I’m going to say. If you want to read an excellent horror book (that is quite low on the blood & guts scale), try your best to start this before you read what it’s about. It was an amazing experience for me. But even if you hear the plot, read it anyway. In my opinion, as a tough-as-nails old lady who’s read a lot of scary books, this one was fantastic.

And like I said, now it’s bedtime. Do I leave the lights on, or shut up every window and turn lights OFF???

The Martian, by Andy Weir

4 Sep
FIVE of FIVE stars

FIVE of FIVE stars

For a good long while I was concerned this was going to be 317 pages of science and chemistry lessons. But just in time, the story introduces a new dimension to the plot and then things went warp speed. And the book actually IS 317 pages of science and chemistry lessons, but it’s all wrapped up in a “Murphy’s Law on Mars” vs. “The MacGyver-ist MacGyver That Ever Was”. I have a feeling actual scientists and engineers would describe what Mark does as “in theory” and “except that” etc., but it was fascinating anyway. And how can you not root for Mark Watney? I was jumping in my seat, covering the words below so no surprise would be ruined (and there was a surprise on every page!!), and hoping against hope that somehow he was going to make it home alive. What a great character! What great science and chemistry lessons! They should assign this book in schools just to get kids excited about the possibilities.

I won’t see the movie. I’m sure they can make something exciting out of this, but no film would be able to encompass all that happens in this book. It’s a fast read, and it’s a read you can’t put down until you’re done, so JUST READ THE BOOK.

Afterparty, by Daryl Gregory

4 Sep
FIVE of FIVE stars

FIVE of FIVE stars

I didn’t give it 5 stars because it’s great literature (it’s not), but because it was a fun, quick read, and if there were more books with Lyda and Ollie, and/or Sasha, I would read them in a heartbeat. What better reason to give it five stars?

It was intriguing to me that the main character just happens to be lesbian. It doesn’t define her at all, she just happens to be lesbian. Also, it’s written by a man. And he does a pretty good job! These kinds of characters are very rare, and I appreciated the portrayal of a very flawed but intelligent, good human being who happens to be lesbian.

It’s not a perfect book, and the climax(es) are a bit messy/unrealistic/convenient, but who cares? I was along for the ride and having a great time. And waking up today after finishing it last night, I’m sad that it’s over and the characters are gone. I hope we see more of them in the future.